Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in USA
Neem Karolibaba Ashram and Hanuman Temple, Taos, NM
Location:Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Hanuman Temple
416 Geronimo Lane
Taos, New Mexico 87571
How Hanuman Came to AmericaAfter Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi (leaving his body) in 1973, His American devotees longed for a place to meet and share stories, hold bhandaras (holiday feasts), sing kirtan (devotional chants), and enjoy satsang (the community of those on the path together). In the spring of 1977, a group of thirty or forty devotees gathered in upstate New York for a bhandara. Ram Dass proposed that a murti (statue) representing Hanuman be commissioned in India, for installation in a temple in America.
Calendars in India are adorned with wonderful renderings of the Gods and Goddesses. One such calendar picture, which now hangs in the Taos ashram dharmsala, was sent to a devotee who became enchanted with the form of the blissful flying Hanuman. In it, He is depicted as flying towards Lanka in search of Sita, carrying Ram’s ring in his hand (a symbol of hope and reunion, of love in motion). This served as an inspiration for the rupa, or form, in which Hanuman would be represented. This image became the model for a large painting which was then photographed and taken to Jaipur in western India. There, the same family of sculptors who carved the murti of Hanuman in Maharaj-ji’s Vrindaban ashram began working to create a sixteen-hundred pound murti, Ram’s ring in his hand. Now Hanuman was going to fly across the ocean to get to America!
After the carving was approved, the women elders polished the murti for days. Then the painter gave color to Hanuman’s serene and gentle face. A crate was built around Hanuman. He was taken to Bombay, where permission from Indian Customs and Antiquities’ officials to leave India was received.
Several months later, in the late spring of 1978, the murti arrived in San Francisco by cargo ship. Where would Hanuman come to rest? Satsang members took trips and held discussions. Oregon? Mount Shasta? New York City? Canada? No agreement. At that point, a devotee in New Mexico volunteered to house the murti until a permanent place could be found. Hanuman was brought on a trailer to Arroyo Seco, near Taos, where a bhandara was held to celebrate the anniversary of Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi and to welcome Hanuman.
Hanuman remained on the trailer for another year. He was taken to Embudo near the Rio Grande for the 1979 bhandara celebration. Then Hanuman was moved to a farm in Taos and was placed in a little adobe barn on the property. Years passed, and the little barn was renovated and improved. Slowly the farm started to serve as an ashram and a non-profit organization was set up so that the land could be purchased, parcel-by-parcel.
Now the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram wholly owns the land. A kitchen was built, and showers and bathrooms were installed. Over the years, the ashram evolved into the present arrangement, with a Board of Directors making decisions based on input from satsang. Hundreds of devotees come each September to celebrate the Mahasamadhi of Neem Karoli Baba with a bhandara, kirtan, and satsang. All are welcome to utilize their time in seva (service), singing kirtan, prayer, or in talk about Maharaj-ji’s lilas (the dance of Grace).
About Neem Karoli BabaBaba Neem Karoli Maharaj was a great Indian saint of the Himalayan lineage who left his body in 1973.
Neem Karoli Baba is also known as Neeb Karori Baba, and is called “Maharaj-ji” by His devotees. Maharaj-ji’s teachings were simple and universal. He often said, “Sub Ek” — All is One. He taught us to “love everyone, serve everyone, remember God, and tell the truth.” Strongly connected to Hanuman, the Hindu God in the form of a monkey, Maharaj-ji “taught” in a highly personalized, non-traditional way that reflected the deep devotion of the bhakti path of the heart. Known as the “Miracle Baba” throughout north India, He manifested many siddhis (powers), such as being in two places at once or putting devotees in samadhi (state of God consciousness) at the touch of a finger. Maharaj-ji is best known for the unconditional love He showered on all who came into His presence as well as those who never met Him in the body but established a connection to him beyond the physical plane.
This is how Maharaj-Ji became known as Neem Karoli Baba, which means the sadhu from Neem Karoli (or Neeb Karori). This was many years ago, perhaps when Maharaj-ji was in his late twenties or early thirties. For several days, no one had given him any food and hunger drove him to board a train for the nearest city. When the conductor discovered Maharaj-ji seated in the first class coach without a ticket, he pulled the emergency brake and the train ground to a halt. After some verbal debate, Maharaj-ji was unceremoniously put off the train. The train had stopped near the village of Neeb Karori where Maharaj-Ji had been living. Maharaj-ji sat down under the shade of a tree while the conductor blew his whistle and the engineer opened the throttle. But the train didn’t move. For some time the train sat there while every attempt was made to get it to move. Another engine was called in to push it, but all to no avail. A local magistrate with one arm, who knew of Maharaj-ji, suggested to the officials that they coax that young sadhu back onto the train. Initially the officials were appalled by such superstition, but after many frustrating attempts to move the train they decided to give it a try. Many passengers and railway officials approached Maharaj-ji, carrying with them food and sweets as offerings to Him. They requested that He board the train. He agreed on two conditions: The railway officials must promise to have a station built for the village of Neeb Karori (at the time the villagers had to walk many miles to the nearest station), and the railroad must henceforth treat sadhus better. The officials promised to do whatever was in their power, and Maharaj-ji finally re-boarded the train. Then they asked Maharaj-ji to start the train. He got very abusive and said, “What, is it up to me to start trains?” The engineer started the train, the train traveled a few yards, and then the engineer stopped it and said, “Unless the sadhu orders me, I will not go forward.” Maharaj-ji said, “Let him go.” And they proceeded. Then Maharaj-ji said that the officials kept their word, and soon afterward a train station was built at Neeb Karori and sadhus received more respect.
Baba Keeps His Word to a Child“Only Baba Neem Karoli is capable of restoring life. You pray to him to fulfill your wish.”
This event happened during the Second World War. Chandra Shekar Pande, S.D.O, M.E.S, was very worried about his wife. She had fever for a long time and was now so emaciated that she was close to death. He sent a telegraph to his father-in law, Motiram who lived in Anupshahar. The elderly Motirarn was very disturbed at this news. He went to his Guru, Mauni baba, who was a highly elevated holy man of the time, and asked him, “O Gurudev, today I beg of you, please, somehow or the other, restore life to my daughter, or end my life also. ”
Mauni baba remained in a meditative pose for some time and then said, “Only Baba Neem Karoli is capable of restoring life. You pray to him to fulfill your wish.” So, at Anupshahar, Motiram. meditated on Baba and prayed to him. Meanwhile at Jhansi, Baba arrived at Pande’s house and asked, “How is your wife?” Pande did not know Baba and asked him who he was. Baba replied, “Baba Neem Karoli. ” Pande said, “She is lying dead inside. ” Baba said, “Will you show her to me?” Pande took Baba inside.
Baba looked at her dead body and said, “She is not dead yet. You have some grapes in your house? Fetch them, and a bowl and a spoon. ” Baba extracted some grape juice by pressing the grapes in his hand and poured that juice into her mouth. Her pulse began to beat and in a few moments she opened her eyes. Baba said, “Give her grape juice and milk to drink, she will be cured.” Then Baba went away. Pande’s wife began to recuperate and she regained her health without any treatment.
It turned out that Baba visited Motiram’s house when Pande’s wife was six years old. Someone had died in the neighbour’s house, and as the child had seen this for the first time, it had shocked her tender heart. At that time Baba very lovingly said to the girl, “Ask whatever you want.” She said, “Baba, when I die, bring me back to life.”
Baba was committed to his words, but said nothing at the time. Baba kept his promise given to a child.
Hanuman in PrayagThe work was done; that was enough for Baba.
There was a very heavy flood, and the water of both the Ganges and Jamuna (Yamuna) had risen to a high level in Allahabad. The currents were very strong. Some stones of the adjoining fort were washed away, and water was getting into the fort. All the adjoining areas, including the famous Hanuman temple, were submerged under water, facing the fury of this flood. Dr. Katju, then Defense Minister, accompanied by his staff, came to see the situation for himself. Seeing Dr. Katju, who was a highly religious person, some priests of the Hanuman temple prayed to him to save the temple. They said every year during the rainy season Hanumanji goes down under water and comes out when the water subsides. But this time the threat was very serious; some old pipal and banyan trees that had stood firm through the ages had been washed away. The same threat held for Hanumanji also. Dr. Katju sympathized with them but said it was beyond his power, rather beyond all human power, to save the murti of Hanumanji. Only Hanumanji himself could do that. He said they should seek the help of Neem Karoli Baba, who was considered to be an incarnation of Hanumanji. It is not known, nor is it necessary to know, how many of them believed what Dr. Katju said about Babaji being an incarnation of Hanumanji. Their need was very great and they would try anything. Since this advice came from such a wise and respected person, many of them actually started shouting for Baba.
After some time they stopped, and not having much hope for the success of their venture, many of them left. A jeep came, but few took notice of it, as the vehicles of many sightseers were coming and going. Someone got down from the jeep and started coming their way. Several persons shouted, “Here comes Babaji! He is Neem Karoli Baba!” They all rushed to him and narrated to him their tales of woe. Everyone was pressing him to save Hanumanji.
Babaji told them that he could not do that – only Hanumanji himself could do that, and they should pray to him. Babaji just took a little water from the flooded rivers in his palm, sipped a few drops, and went away in his jeep. Most of the others left after the jeep had gone. Those who remained were not sure that much would come out of that august visit, and they were left disheartened. But that very night the water started receding and, within two days, the threat to the temple was over. Many felt afterwards that Babaji had done his miracle, but many more thought it happened of its own and Babaji had nothing to do with it. This made no difference to Baba. People remembered him in their distress and so he came. The work was done; that was enough for Baba. It was not for him to wait to see the success of his work and collect laurels from the seekers who cried for help. These stories can sometimes help us to see the work of his unseen hands in the many critical situations facing his devotees. Some of them had their faith strengthened by him. When they came out safe from their misfortunes, they took it to be all Babaji’s doing. He would deny flatly that he had anything to do with it. This is the Babaji we know.
There are so many more stories of how restless the saints become at the sufferings of others. Although as highly realized souls they are free from attachments, they cannot stand as mere spectators when the cries from the helpless reach their ears.
An Umbrella of Protection“Keep it with you. It will be a protective umbrella.”
In 1967 R.P. Vaish, a devotee of Baba’s, came to Kainchi to see Baba. He was being transferred to Delhi, and he told Baba that he wanted to tour Kashmir before taking up his post. When Vaish was leaving, Baba gave him an umbrella and said, “Keep it with you. It rains heavily there.” Vaish hesitated to accept the umbrella and said, “I have an umbrella at home. This one will serve many people here at the ashram.” Baba did not listen to him and again asked him to keep it with him. During his stay in Kashmir, Vaish went about holding the umbrella. On his return to Delhi, he again went to Kainchi for Baba’s darshan and to return the umbrella. On seeing him, Baba said, “You have come to return the umbrella?” Baba then said, “Keep it with you. It will be a protective umbrella over you.” Vaish did not understand what Baba meant, but he went back to Delhi, taking the umbrella with him.
In 1978, five years after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Vaish was transferred to Lucknow and left his extra luggage, including the umbrella, at his house in Delhi. In Lucknow he started suffering from heart, liver and spleen trouble. A check-up at Balrampur Hospital revealed that his spleen was enlarged by thirteen centimeters, but the doctors did not advise an operation due to his heart trouble. As no other treatment option was available to him in Lucknow, he and his wife went to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. Back in Delhi, Vaish was getting ready to go from his house to the hospital when his wife noticed the umbrella lying there. The idea came to her that by not keeping the umbrella gifted to him by Maharaj with him always, he might have been deprived of Baba’s protection. In the hot month of June, Shrimati Vaish escorted her husband to the hospital and hid the umbrella under his pillow.
Vaish was examined thoroughly once again. His spleen was still enlarged by thirteen centimeters. The doctors told him that he would have to stay in the hospital for six months and agreed that it was not advisable to operate on the spleen in his condition. They would have to rely on the medicines to affect a cure. They told him that he would have to take a special tablet once a month that would reduce his spleen by two and a half centimeters over thirty days. He took the first tablet that same day. The next morning he felt so much better that he asked the doctor to get his spleen examined again. Saying encouraging words to him, the doctor explained that the process of measuring would be repeated after six months, not every day. Vaish was not satisfied with this and sent his wife to the chief medical superintendent with a request to get his spleen examined again as a special case. The superintendent ordered it to be re-measured, and the results showed that his spleen had indeed reduced in size by thirteen centimeters. Since the tablet was not that effective, the doctors were all amazed at the sudden change. When they expressed their surprise to Vaish, he pulled out the umbrella and said, “By its grace.”
Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”
Daily Schedule7am – Opening Aarti
7pm – Evening Aarti
9pm – Temple Closes
(Winter Hours 7am – 8pm)
Weekly Schedule7pm Tuesday – Evening Aarti followed by kirtan and prasad
11am Sunday – Hanuman Chalisas followed by prasad
Aarti is a form of worship where we offer the light from the aarti lamp to Maharaj-ji and all of the deities in the temple room. In essence, we are acknowledging the Source of All.
The Hanuman Chalisa is a chant consisting of forty verses in praise of Sri Hanuman-ji.
Visiting the AshramWe invite all visitors to enjoy the Ashram grounds.
We ask that you keep few things in mind while visiting:
- Please enjoy the flowers but please do not pick them.
- Intoxicants are not allowed on ashram property.
- We ask that parents watch their children at all times be responsible for their children’s safety.
- Please do not bring dogs to the Ashram.
Feb 15, 2013 – CURRENTLY SEEKING CARETAKERS AND SEVAKS to live and work at the Ashram. IF INTERESTED PLEASE EMAIL A LETTER OF INTENT INCLUDING RELEVANT LIFE & WORK EXPERIENCE TO:Seva means service. In Hinduism, Seva is selfless service for the good of the community.
Baba’s ashram runs on a mix of paid and volunteer positions. It is a blessing to be able to do Seva here – and it can be very challenging. Many who have worked here have described amazing growth and much richness. Many have also been stretched in ways they did not expect.
If you live in the area and are interested in volunteering, we always appreciate and encourage your participation. Please contact us and let us know your skills.
KitchenThe kitchen is a sacred space and an important part of Maharaj-ji’s ashram where food is consecrated by offering it to Maharaj-ji and Hanuman.
The portion returned to the worshipper is prasad. For this reason, food is not tasted, even during preparation, until after it is offered. This is a vegetarian ashram.
Non-vegetarian products are not permitted on the premises. Eggs are not used in prasad although dairy products are. Garlic and onions are also not used in the kitchen.
Visiting the Kainchi AshramIf you are intending to visit Kainchi Dham, Maharaji-ji’s Ashram in India, you must first write to the manager and request permission for your stay. Generally people are allowed to stay three days.
You need a reference note from one of the older devotees and you can send it along with your request to stay, and a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Hanuman TempleWe are excited to announce that after many years of planning for a new Hanuman Temple we have finally received Siddhi Ma’s blessing on a design that the Board of the NKB Ashram came to full agreement on. There are many more steps to be taken before the building can begin but we wanted to share with everyone the plans for the new Temple for Hanuman. On this page you will find various architectural drawings that depict the building from various points of view. If anyone has any specific questions or feedback about moving the Temple project forward, please write to email@example.com.
FestivalsPuja means ‘worship.’ Puja is a ritual used to call upon God.
It is performed for the well-being of the world. Often incense, flowers, water, fresh garments, food, camphor and lights are offered, while prayers are recited or sung. Offerings may be simple or elaborate. Even the simplest offerings can be profound. There are many ways to worship God. The forms of worship can be as simple as single words or rituals lasting days. How one chooses to worship God is very personal. Worship is the expression of one’s heart manifesting itself outwardly
Shivaratri, Hanuman Jayanti, Guru Purnima, Navaratri/Durga Puja
Maharaj-ji’s Mahasamadhi Bhandara
Mailing AddressNeem Karoli Baba Ashram
PO Box 1710
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Telephone NumbersOffice & Puja Dukan: 575-751-4080
The Puja Dukan started as a service to the devotees of Neem Karoli Baba
and Hanuman-ji — a one-stop shopping place for all the items that provide them
with a way to connect more deeply to Maharaj-ji and the deities of his lineage.
Whether it’s in the form of incense to purify the place of meditation, books
that tell Maharaj-ji stories or the saga of Hanuman, CDs and tapes of chanting
from the heart, prayer
flags or pictures of
our beloved guru, the Puja Dukan carries these and many more offerings of
grace. What started so simply has grown.
Baba’s Permaculture FarmHanuman’s Garden lives on five acres in the back of the ashram property. By Baba’s Grace and Susannah’s hard work, we have had two years of fabulous harvests. Now going into our third year, many of our ideas have become a reality and many more new plans are being launched. A lot of time has been spent planning our permaculture farm for the most beneficial use of the Ashram’s land.
In this moment and as we look to the future we see this land as a diverse and complex agricultural system that can sustain
the needs of the Ashram as well as the community at large
. Our efforts will eventually lead to less dependence on the outside world for our daily, monthly and festival needs including, flowers, fruits and vegetables which make up a huge part of our daily offerings.
In the lower garden just off the acequia, we have spent the last three years establishing a perennial cutting garden. We use these flowers to create beautiful offerings for Hanuman, Baba, Devi and Shiva. Delphinium, Black Eyed Susans, Yarrow, Lilies and Goldenrod are just a few of the flowers we enjoy gathering and arranging. We plan to add to this variety each season.
We have planted 20 fruit trees in our dedicated orchard along with several species of berries and fruit bearing shrubs. These fresh fruits will line our cupboards through their ripe seasons, used for jellies, jams, chutneys, pie fillings and then frozen for use in desserts throughout the winter. Behind Baba’s office we have the beginnings of a medicinal herb garden. The design for this garden came about fairly organically and we believe will be an interesting and beautiful place to meander through and take in the many healing plants which, as they mature, will become medicine for the community.
We also have 5 top bar hives to house our honey bees and 5 peacocks that wander the grounds.
t certain times of the year, we welcome people who are interested in sustainable agriculture and organic farming to come as volunteers to learn and work.
For more information contact Susannah. 575-751-4080
Directions to the Ashram
From ColoradoTake I-25 south, get off at Walsenburg exit and head WEST on 160 to Ft. Garland. At Ft. Garland go South (LEFT) on CO159 which turns into NM 522, all the way to Taos. At the THIRD stoplight in Taos, turn RIGHT onto Placitas. Go about half a mile and take a RIGHT onto Valverde Road. Stay on Valverde until you reach Geronimo Lane (first right after stop sign) Turn RIGHT onto Geronimo, bear LEFT at the fork and go into the parking lot.
From Santa FeTake 68 North to Taos. At the THIRD stop light, talk a LEFT onto Paseo del Canon. Go one block to the Stop sign at Salazar Rd and go RIGHT. Continue on Salazar to the next stoplight. Turn LEFT onot Ranchitos Road and take the next RIGHT onot Valverde Road. Go past one stop sign for one half block and turn LEFT on Geronimo Lane. Bear LEFT at the fork and go into the parking lot.
From I-25Take US 64 WEST at Raton all the way to Taos. When you reach the first stoplight in the center of town turn left and go to the next stoplight (Placitas Road) Turn RIGHT onto Placitas and then LEFT at the next stoplight (Ranchitos Rd.) Follow Ranchitos through the next stoplight (Salazar) and take the next RIGHT onto Valverde Road. Go past one stop sign for one half block and turn LEFT on Geronimo Lane. Bear LEFT at the fork and go into the parking lot.
Neem Karoli Baba Ashram and Hanuman Temple
416 Geronimo Lane
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Mailing Address: P.O.Box 51616, Albuquerque, NM – 87181
MISSION STATEMENTThe mission of the non-profit Hindu Temple Society of New Mexico (HTSNM) is to foster Hindu culture, values and provide a forum for religious services, discourses and spiritual activities.
Temple Regular Events
HTSNM Temple is open every Saturday evening and there is Hanuman Chalisa recital every Saturday at 4pm.
Call 263-2929 before going to temple to confirm it is open
Ekadashi Pooja is done twice a month on the actual Ekadshi day from 7:30 pm to 8:30pm,
Call 263-2929 before going to temple to confirm it is open
Ekadashi Pooja is done twice a month on the actual Ekadshi day from 7:30 pm to 8:30pm,
GET INVOLVEDHTSNM is always looking for community members to volunteers and sponsor activities and events organized by HTSNM.
If you are interested in offering Time, Talent or Treasure please fill the form below and we will contact you.[formidable id=4]TIME: You can donate your valuable time for HTSNM activities at the temple and other events. Please contact us if you wish to donate your time.
TALENT: HTSNM needs members with god given talents like cooking, decorating, dancing, singing and more. If you wish to offer you talent please let us know.
TREASURE: HTSNM relies on its members for financial support and if you wish to share some of your treasure with god and community please let us know.
Krishan Wahi (President)
Amit Patel (Secretary)
Sachi Mody (Treasurer)
Krishna Jaiswal (Past President)
MEMBERSHIPTo become a member of Hindu Temple Society of New Mexico (HTSNM), please submit your information here.
After submitting this form please send your check drawn to HTSNM to P.O.Box 51616, Albuquerque, NM – 87181
or you can handover the check to one of the BOT members during the next event.
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )